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Notable moments of our past

April 19, 2010

There have been several noteable moments with our marathons that get referenced a lot by us or the viewers, but if you weren’t there to see them it’ll require some explanations.  In the interest of having to do that a little less often, here’s a quick rundown of some highlights, lowlights, inside jokes, and other things that’ll probably pop up from time to time.

Win Points and Fail Points (from Sonic and carried forward):
Only a few levels into the Sonic marathon, Dan started arbitrarily giving out what he called win points and fail points for doing good or bad at the game.  Shortly after, he started also  giving the same points out for funny or annoying comments.  It didn’t take long for the rest of the group to not only catch on, but start recording who had how many of them, and thus we had an unofficial (but mostly useless) point system going.  The system was expanded on some for the Mario marathon, including giving the points out to viewers (people got win points for correctly guessing which treasure box to pick in Super Mario Bros. 3), inanimate objects (Tom’s apartment got fail points for a power outlet that shorted out), or simply the game we were playing (the game gets win points for doing so well against us).  Fail points were completely absent for the Devil May Cry marathon out of concerns from certain players that it was becoming too negative and critical, and the entire system was quietly dropped shortly into the Mega Man marathon.
The Suikoden marathon handled win points a bit differently, as they were almost entirely given out to viewers.  When the marathon ended, Tom did a lottery drawing — the more points you had, the better your chances to win — with the winner getting a gift card to Gamestop.  The team chose not to bring the prize giveaway back, though, since it didn’t seem worth the effort considering a lot of people didn’t know about the giveaway in the first place.

The Pizza Toss (From Sonic and carried forward)
About six to eight hours into the Sonic marathon, the team had ordered some pizza.  Around the same time, Alex had arrived on site, and repeatedly did an impersonation of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, as referenced in a then-popular Saturday Night Live skit.  In an attempt to stop him, Tom threw the nearest object he could find that wouldn’t hurt if thrown — a leftover pizza crust — across the room to lightly hit him.  As the moment was considered probably the funniest of that marathon, Tom carried forward the joke into each of their later events and threw a pizza crust at someone the first night of the marathon:
Mario: Thrown at Shawn after accidentally clogging the toilet
Devil May Cry: Thrown at Joe for getting the first game over
Suikoden: Thrown at Joe for arriving late to the event
Mega Man: No pizza was thrown, but Tom did say he was planning to throw pizza at one of the event rookies as an initiation ceremony
Star Fox: No pizza was thrown, the pizza was instead eaten as Tom was pretty hungry and couldn’t think of a good reason to hit anyone
Banjo-Kazooie: Thrown at Jeremy to “initiate” him into the group, that being his first marathon

Lost World (From Sonic)
This is the group meme that seems to get referenced most often, thanks in part to a few viewers that bring it up.  It comes from the second-to-last level of Sonic Adventure (at least within Sonic’s storyline).  The level, played primarily by Sarah, took an unusually long time to finish compared to the others thanks to a few cheap deaths and difficult platforming in a vertical room where a misstep caused her to redo sections of the room.  Since then, Lost World has become synonymous with a player doing poorly on part of a game compared to how difficult it actually is.  Other Lost World moments include:
Crisis City from Sonic 2006 (by Mason)
The fourth world of Super Mario Bros. 3 (by Mason)
The very beginning of Super Mario Sunshine (by Chris)
Pretty much every boss in the second half of Devil May Cry 1’s hard mode
Nevas in Devil May Cry 3’s very hard mode (by Shawn, Dan, Phil, and Tom, the only such incident to be given up on entirely)
The final fight with Sarah in Suikoden 3 (by Tom)
Lumine in Mega Man X8 (by Tom)
In response to Lost World being brought up a bit too much during the Star Fox Versus marathon, Sarah has completed the level in a single life and uploaded the recording to Youtube.  Sure enough, no references to it were made at the Banjo-Kazooie Versus marathon that followed.

The Game Hates Itself Too (From Sonic)
During the first marathon, the team came up with a system of win points and fail points for good and bad behavior and game playing.  They decided that at the end of the stream, whoever had the most fail points would have to play Sonic The Fighters, known to be one of the worst games the series had to offer.  Mason was the big winner (big loser?), and agreed that the game was horrible.  However, as if the game realized its pathetic existence and committed suicide, the game crashed with a generic error partway through (“The Nintendo Gamecube disc could not be read”), giving us a spectacular ending none of us could have planned or predicted.  Mason also had the most fail points at the end of the Mario marathon, but no further punishment took place since there were no really bad Mario games on site.

The Worst CO Ever Contest (From Mario)
With so many people at the marathon, several of the other players ended up playing other games off camera.  At one point, Mason, Chris, Dan, and Phil started playing Advance Wars against each other in an attempt to figure out who was the “worst CO ever”, or simply the worst at the game.  Mason ended up being the worst, and got fail points as a result.

The Cracker Debate (From Mario/Devil May Cry)
At one point during the Mario marathon, Shawn declared he was going to give away a box of Triscuits to one of our viewers (which, out of pure laziness, never was actually done).  Later, at the Devil May Cry marathon, the incident was brought up again, and when questioned why it was Triscuits, Shawn said it was because it was the best cracker out there.  This led to a surprisingly heated debate on which cracker actually is the best between everyone else there.  The debate wasn’t formally settled at first with an even split between that and Cheez-Its, but Joe (who was away at the time this started) eventually settled the debate with Cheez-Its winning.  In reference to this, Cheez-Its have been on site for snack food every marathon since.

The First Complete Game (From Devil May Cry)
Up until the Star Fox Versus marathon, Ocean City Trinity did not usually assign specific games to specific people, instead simply choosing to pass off the controller as needed.  As a result, it wasn’t till the team’s third marathon where one player, Tom in this case, made literally all the progress on a single game (Shawn – literally the only other person awake at the time – did play a few times but they all ended in game overs).  However, the terms by which this happened were impressive on their own – it was Devil May Cry 1 on hard mode, all in one sitting, starting at hour 35 of the marathon (3AM in local time), and Tom had gotten surprisingly little sleep since the event had started.  In recognition of the event, a few viewers who had watched most of Tom’s attempt at this chipped in for a donation.

The Gamer Rune (From Suikoden)
Within the Suikoden universe, runes were the source of most special abilities, and were embedded into a person’s hands or head.  Early in the Suikoden marathon, in an attempt to conform to the spirit of the games, Tom had a rune drawn on his right hand, which he called the Gamer Rune, in the shape of a game controller, which he claimed enhanced his gaming abilities.  The rune was noticed by multiple viewers and the occasional guest commentators Joe and Alex, to which Tom explained that he got the rune from “Johnny, who has an unmarked building on route 37”.  The rune disappeared for the second half of the broadcast, under the claim that it was getting Tom weird looks from the FPS-centric game crowd at work.  Interestingly, Tom had planned a similar idea for the Mega Man marathon in which he would change shirts periodically claiming to have defeated a robot master, but due to him not getting much time off camera, only had enough time to defeat two such robots (Angel Man, who gave him white, and Dynamite Man, who gave him red).

The Five Minute Rule (From Suikoden)
The five minute rule states that a village whose name actually contains the word “village” will burn to the ground in a glorious blaze if the main character leaves it for more than five minutes.  The rule was noticed when Tom was playing Suikoden 2 and two such villages were burnt down within an hour, and then recalled another village from the previous game that suffered the same fate.  The rule was invoked five times total during the marathon, and once found gave the crowd a bit of excitement every time Tom entered a new village.  Incidentally, Toms River (the city which Ocean City Trinity broadcasts out of) was for a long time, legally speaking, a village.

The five minute rule also made a comeback during the Banjo-Kazooie marathon, with two Diddy Kong Racing tracks (Frosty Village and Greenwood Village) and the Jinjo Village from Banjo-Tooie all being subjected to it.

The Banhammers (From Suikoden/Star Fox)

When Sarah came to visit during the Suikoden marathon, she brought with her two sledgehammer-like objects, stating that they were actually banhammers (you know, the type you use to ban someone from a forum or chatroom).  The banhammers were used during the marathon as weapons occasionally, as if Tom was acting out the motions of his character in the game.  The banhammers reappeared  later in the Star Fox Versus marathon, having been noticed by Dan.  Finding another creative usage for them, he assumed the role of blacksmith and used them to forge items both in the game (for example, a Landmaster tank) and out (like a cooking sheet for the frozen pizza).  Who knew banhammers were so versatile?

Panic Attack (From Mega Man)
While the team has been fairly good about keeping a long broadcast going outside of technical issues, one notable exception occurred about halfway through the Mega Man marathon.  Up to this point, Tom and Sarah had been the only people running the marathon for a significant period of time due to last minute schedule conflicts with the other expected players.  Additionally, Tom had not gotten a chance to sleep at all during the marathon (and had gone into work early the morning it started), and thus had been awake for almost 36 hours.  So around the halfway point, just before starting Mega Man X, the sleep deprivation caught up to him and had a brief panic attack.  Sarah was resting at the time, so with no one else able to run the show in his place Tom called a temporary break.  He used the time to, among other things, encourage another moderator (AlenMcDohl from Bonus Stage Marathons) to put on an impromptu show in order to keep viewership up, and call in a few friends that were unable to make it earlier to the show, and when they arrived he got the sleep he needed (in a moment of good timing, they arrived about two minutes before the next game was finished).  In spite of the sleep deprivation, this isn’t the longest period of no sleep for these marathons – that record goes to Shawn, who stayed up for all 48 scheduled hours of the Mario marathon (plus a few hours before and after the event).

The Tastiest Boss (From Mega Man)
In the Mega Man X series, most of the bosses are based on different animals.  While playing through Mega Man X3, Shawn, Ricky, and Tom got into a discussion on which of the bosses they thought would be the tastiest, coming up with creative answers on what would be their equivalent (i.e. “Blizzard Buffalo sounds like a frozen burger”).  From within the first three games, Bubble Crab was considered to probably be the tastiest.

Delayed Ending (From Mega Man)
Tom and Sarah had no problem continuing the Mega Man marathon well past its scheduled end time to finish the last games on the list, going up until about 5AM on the last game with a scheduled end time of 7PM the previous night (though one hour was cut out as a dinner break), but the final boss of Mega Man X8, the last game in the series, proved to be too difficult in the end, visibly frustrating Tom.  He was willing to just stop the marathon there thinking it was enough of a success, but thanks to some encouragement from Sarah (at this point admitting she was more of a spectator having not played this game before) and everyone watching, Tom agreed to put together an impromptu show the next night to complete the game.  Clearly the time to rest helped immensely, as he was able to finish the boss on his third try.

Calling The Score (From Star Fox)
One of the achievements for the Star Fox marathon was to score at least 1337 points in a single playthrough of Star Fox 64.  As Tom played through the game and noticed around the 4th or 5th level (of 7) that he was on track to unexpectedly reach this score, Dan said it would be really funny if we ended up scoring 1336 instead.  Sure enough, everyone had a good laugh when the final score ended up being exactly 1336.  Unfortunately, while Tom played through the game another time to score other achievements, he never did reach 1337.

Xbox 360 smashing (From Legend of Zelda)
Tom made a promise during the Banjo-Kazooie marathon that he would destroy his first Xbox 360(which no longer works) with a hammer if the donation levels ever reached $360.  They didn’t, but he also said he would leave the offer open whenever they did their next marathon.  The next marathon actually did reach over that amount, and followed through with the promise.  Tom, Sarah, and Dan took turns sledgehammering the system, destroying the casing and to a lesser extent the electronics inside, much to the delight of the chat.

Four Swords Misadventures (From Legend of Zelda)
Thinking so few other marathon teams had done it, and that we had enough people to pull it off, the team played Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures with four players, with an extra camera directly shooting at a Game Boy Advance. Unfortunately, Tom, Bern, and Jon weren’t prepared for the antics of the fourth player, Dan, who decided it was more fun to simply attack everyone else. Naturally, screaming at Dan for getting in their way became common. While the game switched to another one after four levels for completely unrelated reasons — specifically, Bern having previous plans he needed to leave for — the group pretty much agreed never to let Dan do co-op multiplayer with them again. The rest of the game was completed the following night by Sarah (and only Sarah).

We ❤ (or have >3) Come From Behind Victories (from Mario Versus)
With the race format, there was high potential for a come from behind victory on an individual game, and we pulled it off far more than should be expected.  In particular:
* Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels: Tom gets stuck on 8-3 for a while, allowing TSR to pass him.  Unfortunately, they got just as stuck on 8-4, which Tom ended up finishing on his second try.  TSR finished their game a few minutes later.
* Super Mario 64: Bern falls a little behind towards the end, but gets some direction on collecting the last few stars he needs.  Thanks to poor performances on Bowser (and some technical difficulties they didn’t announce until after the fact), we continue on finishing the game just minutes ahead.
* Super Mario Galaxy 2: Another close match, with us consistently a few stars behind.  TSR’s momentum slowed down towards the end when it came time to get some of the longer, harder stars, while we just rolled ahead with little trouble.  We end up going into the final level just a few minutes ahead, and keep the momentum going to finish just five minutes ahead.
* Paper Mario: TSR took their strategy straight out of the Speed Demos Archive, and it got them hours ahead early on, but the high-risk nature of it slowed them down significantly.  Tom’s run relied less on exploits and more on detailed planning, but despite its slow and steady nature it worked well enough that we caught up at the final boss, and beat them in the end.  TSR was never able to finish this one.
* Super Mario Land: Once again it came down to the grand finale.  TSR gets to the final boss first, but loses on their first attempt, giving Tom just enough time to sweep a victory under their feet.
* Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door: The final game of the marathon, and given the score at the time (we needed to not only win the game, but TSR couldn’t get partial credit in order to win the whole competition).  Learning from last time, TSR took a similar strategy to us, with the end result that they ended up just minutes behind for the first 6 chapters (about 8 hours).  Eventually a wrong turn (trying to go to the Fahr Outpost before anything could be done there) got TSR the lead they needed, but  lost their ground on the final few bosses.  And just like last time, TSR couldn’t pull together a win on the final boss while we confidently put her down.  Another win for us!

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